Say It Ain’t So, Joe

I met Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher at the Sam Adams Alliance awards event April 18. My interview with him is available on YouTube. Joe struck me as a fun and friendly guy with some good leanings if a superficial understanding of individual rights.

I thought I was lobbing a softball when I asked him, “What do you see as the central proper purpose of the federal government? What is your basic message? What do the politicians go to Washington, DC to do?”

He began to complain about the “growth of government” under various presidents, then praised Teddy Roosevelt for nationalizing wilderness lands. I thought his answer on this point was basically wrong and that it lacked substance. But overall I thought he came across as a relatively well-informed and well-spoken “man from the street.”

But then I heard about a couple of unfortunate comments he’s made elsewhere, so of course I had to look them up.

In Christianity Today, where he argues that states should have the ability to ban abortion (which I regard as totally wrong and a violation of basic rights), he says of “queer” people (homosexuals): “I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children.” That’s just straight-up bigotry.

(He added, “I would love to hear our leaders actually check with God before he does stuff.”)

Elsewhere, Joe said, “Back in the day, really, when people would talk about our military in a poor way, somebody would shoot ’em. And there’d be nothing said about that, because they knew it was wrong. You don’t talk about our troops. You support our troops. Especially when our congressmen and senators sit there and say bad things in an ongoing conflict.” That’s just stupid. You don’t shoot people for criticizing the military. Hello, free speech?

What’s interesting about this in the context of Colorado politics is that the Independence Institute again bumped Christopher Buckley, an Obama supporter, this time for the ATF party on June 20, in favor of Joe the Plumber. Buckley is the author of Thank You for Smoking, which, it seems to me, would have fit the theme of the event rather well. Meanwhile, it’s unclear to me what anti-nanny credentials Joe the Plumber brings to the table. Being at times a politically-incorrect ass is hardly the same thing as fighting the nanny state.